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CAD induced rage

traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
I'm really proud of the things I design. I love the process of creating a physical solution to a problem. Nothing beats getting a box of fresh new parts and putting them together.

My tools are a part of this and I treat them like colleagues. My calipers are rarely out of arms reach and while I do most of my calcs in python these days I have a HP-48 app on my phone and pull the old beast out of drawer every once and a while to look up some whacky custom function I vaguely remembering creating to solve one problem or another. I credit them just as much as my human team mates. 

I was noticing today (using something other than Onshape) that CAD has never been part of my team. This is not just an emotion or feeling either. When my attention shifts away from the problem I'm trying to solve and on to making the tool I'm using work properly, I know there's a problem. And when it's crunch time with a deadline looming, CAD just fills me with rage. 

This puts the bar pretty high for Onshape because one of the reasons I'm here is that I NEED a CAD that is a team-member, and I haven't had one that fills this role yet. I'm not sure yet whether Onshape will do anything different than the others. It's early days and hard to tell. I'm less excited than I was 9 months ago, but I haven't stopped tracking and testing the improvements yet either. Anyway it will take a few years of maturity before we can add them to this discussion.

I'm curious how much the rest of you get this rage. I'm not talking about climbing the learning curve here. I'm talking about the product getting in your way when you have better things to do. I'm talking about getting so frustrated you call the vendors of competitor CAD and ask for a demo in the desperate hope that someone else designed their product for the engineer and not the sales demo. 

I'm talking about the bafflement of watching CAD vendors add features when they don't have the basics well tuned and bug free. 

The stuff that makes your blood boil when all you want to do get back to making progress on the job. The stuff that makes you 100% certain that there is a disconnect between the people making money and the people that need a tools to get stuff done.



  • _Ðave__Ðave_ Member, Developers Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

     Don't know what to say, I get a bit tensed up just reading this.
    Anything I can do, a cup of coffee maybe or maybe not.  :)

     Kidding aside, I do understand your point and hope that Onshape does become a tool I can count on. So far it appears to be heading in the right direction, maybe a bit slow but hoping that means they are really trying to make that great tool.

     I'm old enough to know that there's nothing here worth getting your blood boiling over.
    Take care and keep Onshaping mate
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    Thanks man! I'm fine. Can't say it's been a stress free day but the "CAD's never been like my other tools" thought was the trigger for this post. 

  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    <big snip>

    I'm curious how much the rest of you get this rage....

    I'm talking about the bafflement of watching CAD vendors add features

    when they don't have the basics well tuned and bug free


    That there would be my #1, #2 and #3 problem with the present crop of 3D modelling software.

    I can get by at a pinch without any of the features added in the last decade, and I would rather poke sharp dividers in my eyes than use any feature labelled "Smart.." ....

    if only the application would perform as intended, effortlessly, and without bugs. And when it got to that point, stay the frigging same.

    But that last request is a problem, because businesses cannot survive with products which stay the same.

    I wait with interest to see if Onshape can find some way of avoiding the seemingly inevitable divergence, once their product is "good enough", between the best interests of their loyal, long term userbase #, and their own commercial needs.

    # by this I mean the sector of the userbase to whom a tool which is good enough -- and familiar to the point where the residual limitations are inconsequential -- trumps a more complex and less familiar iteration of the same tool. 

    In the days of drawing boards, and throughout the era of 2D CAD, I almost always knew how long a given job would take to design and detail, near enough.

    With the advent of 3D modelling, about 30% of the time, I get it totally wrong, and 25 of those 30 times, it's because the software did not work as designed. A few of those times, it takes twice as long as it should -- and hence, twice as long as I can charge for.

    3 more times, it takes less than half as long as I expected....  I guess that's cause for celebration. But I would hate to be trying to support a large family....

    On a related note: I think an important litmus test, for Onshape, will be whether the package at moment of launch is essentially bug-free.
    Then the focus will switch to: Can they avoid the situation where enhancements cause existing functions to regress or degrade?

    From my standpoint of relative ignorance, i wonder if browsers might prove the Achilles heel, when it comes to reliability.
    If, eventually, Onshape have to write a dedicated, high performance browser (say to provide acceptable performance and robustness on very large assemblies and drawings), I would fork out good money for that.
    For less demanding use (editing functioning models, etc) it would still be excellent to be able to use any old OS/browser/platform combo.
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    I feel your pain @traveler_hauptman !  Onshape will lower the barriers to information management, which when we work with others becomes a huge issue!  (https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/320/hurry-up#latest)  They have really provided a great foundation on the data management side of things.  I think that alone is worth being around here and adding input as we see fit.  I am currently frustrated with the disconnect between models and drawings with 3D CAD.  My pet peeve is that CAD companies have not treated the models as first class citizens yet.  It makes extra and redundant work when making drawings and maintaining the models and drawings over the long haul of the product life-cycle.  It leaves the whole of designing and documenting very disjointed...( https://forum.onshape.com/discussion/206/how-can-we-make-drawing-dimensioning-and-annotations-awesome/p2 )

    I've been watching the slow disintegration of SolidWorks over the last so many years and the recent subscription policy change over there has caused quite a stir in the community.  There has been a mind shift in the last month from the user's perspective about where they will place their future efforts.  I'm glad that Onshape does not seem to have a dark overlord that is making a conscious decision to entrap users and get more for themselves.   They are aware of the practices and have clearly stated they want to act differently.  https://www.onshape.com/cad-blog/onshapes-core-values-our-statement-of-principles

    I'm optimistic that Onshape will listen and get things fairly well along, to the point that more of us will consider using it for serious paid work.  They challenge us to challenge them and hold their feet to the fire when we see fit.  That's a good way to be for any of us.

  • juan_avilesjuan_aviles Member Posts: 78 ✭✭
    I'm actually pretty excited about where things are currently.  I'm fairly new but started my adventures in CAD about 15 years ago with SDRC I-DEAS.  We switched to Solidworks shortly thereafter and have been with it ever since.  Using flash drives and online storage worked as I brought my designs back and forth from home, but it was extremely cumbersome. Not to mention costly when I accidentally broke a flash drive with data on it.

    That has changed with Onshape.  I was on the couch the other night with my tablet.  I fired up Onshape, and then cast it to our television to show my girlfriend what I had been working on that day.  I had to chuckle as I thought about how far things have come :-)  

    I know that some of you are engineers and CAD professionals.  Design is the biggest part of your CAD experience.  But I'm also a machinist and being able to make parts easily from my designs is also important.  Onshape gives me the fastest access to my designs without copying files over or dealing with different revisions of Solidworks at home and at work.  While at my mill, I can easily access my designs from my basement PC or tablet to check dimensions and revise my machining strategies. I view my CAD and CAM as important to me as my calipers and mill.

    I get frustrated, but I can't really call it rage.  I'm just going to keep riding along and see where Onshape goes from here.  

  • _Ðave__Ðave_ Member, Developers Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

     Has a veteran machinist you learn that no amount frustration and rage will make your job easier.
    Get a cup of coffee have a smoke and work it out.

    Keep on Onshaping!!
  • michał_1michał_1 Member, Developers Posts: 214 ✭✭✭
    Maybe the problem is parametric nature of your cad tools?
    Did you try SpaceClaim or Ironcad? Because of your habits you may not see the advantages of direct modeling in a first sight, but it should feel more natural, default way of creating geometry. Both of programs are mature and complex.
    When you've used this caliper parallel, I've thought immediately about direct modeling.
    Take a look:

    ... just watch and don't bother about PR bullshit.
  • john_mceleneyjohn_mceleney Onshape Employees Posts: 54
    @traveler_hauptman  et al: we completely get your rage. I lost my HP 15C a while ago and someone told me that there was an iphone app, I downloaded it and I felt like I got a birthday present! We want to be that reliable tool and we want to be a great partner. We know the path in front of us and we're heads down hiring and coding to make it happen!

    Epilogue: I did actually find the 15C (hidden in the bottom of my home office drawer)!
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    @john_mceleney&nbsp; You guys have done a lot in just a short time.  We notice.  I think we all agree there is so much potential here.  It's been fun to be a part of it.  Nothing like throwing the hammer down and going for it.  Huge respect.  Love the HP calculator references.  Mine was the HP 48G.  (I've always wondered if it was a polish joke that the method of input was "Reverse Polish Notation" - I can ask that with my Polish heritage) I guess we're all dating ourselves :D.  Sorry Onshape interns...
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,431 PRO
    I think I can understand the rage. I had a meeting in the morning, 3d models prepared few days earlier and just needed to create few simple drawings with some dimensions the night before. BUT cad had a bug with sub-assembly configurations that messed up drawings creation and I ended up with nothing. Took few screenshot from sketches. It's been ten years since I reported this bug, it's still there.. Aaaaarrgh
    Few times I've had problems to open or continue with work that was perfectly ok before closing last time - another aaaaaarrrrggghh.
    And then there is license renewal problems, striking you when you least expect.. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhh

    Now when I gave this more thought, I totally understand the rage.

    For now, I've had only one frustration moment with Onshape. That was regarding to performance of android app and people waiting for answer beside me. Had to walk back into office and send a text.

    At the moment, I can blame myself if I have issues since Onshape is at beta; after launch - there is no excuses.

  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    One welcome innovation with Onshape is the elimination of VARs.

    In the first Solidworks decade, I was blessed, by an accident of geography, with the best CAD vendor imaginable. (Local  VAR)

    Then the guy who had set it up decided to take on a new challenge, a bunch of financiers bought the VAR, and the subsequent decline has been inexorable.

    I get a sick feeling now when something goes wrong with activation, as it generally does, on one occasion, locking me out for three days ... and on the most recent occasion, I did the opposite of the laborious fix  they told me to do -- and it worked.

    The local VAR have somehow (mis)managed to convert me from an ardent supporter and champion to someone who actively dislikes using what objectively remains a perfectly good product.
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,431 PRO
    One welcome innovation with Onshape is the elimination of VARs.
    Thanks Andrew, I'm VAR (Geomagic Design). ;)
    But to be honest, 3D systems made us pretty much secretaries who just pass / translate information.  
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    Happy memories, reading your post. The least disappointing technology item I have ever used was the HP97 I persuaded my first employer to acquire (leapfrogging about 25 years of office tech with that single purchase).
    I never encountered a single bug, not even a typo in the copious owner and operator info: everything always behaved EXACTLY as promised on the tin.

    For all I know someone is still using it.

    I know they'll still be able to read the keys, even if they're worn almost completely away. I once experimented with a scalpel on the keys of an HP of that era which had fallen into a stamping machine - which was about the only way to kill them (I wonder if the scriptwriter for Terminator 2 grew up with one!), and the publicity blurb was exactly true about the key legends being thru-molded, rather than painted or printed.

    As a pimply adolescent, I was able to cajole the trusty 97 into serving as a rudimentary CAD predecessor, by repurposing the statistical registers to carry out vector arithmetic without using up precious lines of code (limited to 224, if memory serves!), thereby arriving at instant solutions to difficult and exacting problems on which we'd previously had to spend half a day on a drawing board (such as solving the bisectors for divided drivelines on multi-axle heavy transport rigs, to eliminate vibration and whirling)

    I'd be the last to pretend it has been downhill since then, but we have paid a price in the rise of uncertainty of outcomes, and the increasing difficulty of acquiring deep familiarity with the tools of the trade...

    There was a show-stopping bug in Claris CAD, for which I tried unsuccessfully for ten years to devise a workaround.
    Through the sort of intuitive leap which only deep familiarity permits, I finally nailed it,  - oh joy ! -  about a month before my last client relinquished it.
  • navnav Member Posts: 258 ✭✭✭✭
    A little bit off topic, guess the age group by their Calculator.  :D

    HP-97  Introduced in 1976
    HP-15C Introduced in 1982
    HP-48G/X Introduced in 1990

    When I finished the University the HP was no longer the Top of the line (I had an HP-48GX). Most freshman's were using the Texas Instruments TI Line of calculators this was the new trend.  :o

    Nicolas Ariza V.
    Indaer -- Aircraft Lifecycle Solutions
  • andrew_troupandrew_troup Member, Mentor Posts: 1,584 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2015
    Even in the 70s, I had been about to recommend the top TI offering fairly enthusiastically
    (anything was better than the antique Canon adding machine with neon display tubes which was all we had),
    until I discovered HP, and all bets were off. I don't know if TI lifted their game over time, but I'm pretty sure HP lowered theirs.

    On reflection, RPN was almost indispensable for writing compact code in the days when memory was purchased and specified by in bits and bytes.

    As well as saving program steps, it dramatically reduced cognitive overload, being based on the architecture of mental arithmetic rather than of written algebra. There was, unquestionably, an initial learning curve -- which was somehow perceived as a lot more daunting in the 80s than in the 70s.

    But it was HP's phenomenal attention to detail, ALL detail, which was most appealing - a bit like early Apple Mac: they were in a religious frenzy, and we accolytes lived on the fumes.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,327 PRO
    edited August 2015

    sorry to hear your frustration, but I get it.

    We have parts, drawings & assemblies. Where's the concept of an engineering layout?
    Someone missed the boat a long time ago. People bought Pro/E for shade & spin, not parametrics and not design. Few realize they got it wrong.

    The whole conversation about "top down" vs. "bottom up" design was a marketing ploy by PTC to confuse people. They had to get away from common engineering design practices and came up with this classic sales objection handling routine to remove this issue from the sales process, and it worked. Engineers start with a layout and work towards parts. Yet, ask any SW user "when you start a new project, do you begin with a part or an assembly"? Everyone starts with a part. This is wrong. The closest thing a parametric featured based modeler has relating to a layout is an assembly. You should be starting new projects in an assembly. Who's going to fix this problem?

    I've been meaning to make a video on creating a new part in an assembly with SW (20 years old) and showing how f***** it is. It's comical, it's funny, it's crazy, it's time to be fixed. Can you believe the world has standardized on this design pattern.

    There's kids on this forum that think designing a bunch of parts and sticking them into an assembly is a proper design practice. OMG! What have we created?

    We take the same data set used in design and shove through manufacturing. These are 
    2 different departments with 2 sets of data requirements, yet no one talks about this. The data
    I create for a design is not useful for manufacturing. A manufacturers biggest fear is that a model
    rebuilds, are joking me, why? Who's going to fix this problem?

    Steve Wolfe pounded me into the ground with the parametric vs. direct model issue. You can't design without parametrics. I wish this conversation would go away. Should direct modeling be used in the manufacturing phase of a project? I think this is where direct modeling belongs.

    Ok, now I'm getting frustrated, time to get another cup of coffee and simmer down.


    some VARS where angelic almost God like. With the internet, I think VARS are now useless.

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